I don’t think this is a newsflash to anyone in the area around Germany but holy hell, is it hot. As a native Wisconsinite, I love the summer and am all about making the most of it, soaking up as much sun as is humanly possible while it lasts. Having said that, the last few days have been pushing 40 degrees Celsius/100 Farenheit, and in a country with no air-conditioning (or no effective AC), it is too damn hot to function.
So what to do instead?
If you can’t find a body of water to submerge yourself in, or your arm muscles are aching from fanning yourself with anything within reach, I thought I’d try to help with a bit of photographic therapy while I kick off Italian Month here on ze blog.
During our time in South Tyrol, BV and I stopped by a few different gorgeous, crystal-clear mountain lakes. Since there aren’t any of these nearby, I hope that looking at the pictures will at least give an illusion of cool. So let’s see how it goes!
Just outside the town that we stayed in was the Toblacher See/Lago di Dobbiaco*. The day we arrived was a bit overcast, so pictures don’t quite reflect just how gorgeous this lake was. We ended up going there twice, as a lot of the restaurants in town weren’t open for the season yet, but the pizza restaurant on the lake was both open and delicious. Win win.
Although the restaurant was empty when I snapped the first photo, it did not stay that way. My favorite features were the iron and wood window decorations – which I fully intend on replicating, and the giant fluffy dog that you had to walk over to get from the main dining room to the bathroom hallway.
The Toblacher See also has a great walking path that goes all the way around the lake, taking about 40 minutes. There were signs along the way with information about the various animals and plant life at the lake, as well as activity stations. Our favorite one was a long jump that let you compare your jumping distance to some of the local critters. Turns out BV can jump about as far as a squirrel… and he might have taken that a little too personally!
There was also a small beach, but it was too cold for swimming. There were a few fisherman out and about, but overall the lake was relatively empty. However, I can imagine it being pretty hopping and full of families on a nice summer day. Take that as a pro or a con, depending on your idea of a good time! 🙂
About a twenty-minute drive up the road into the Tre Cine National Park, was the Dürrensee, or Lago di Landro. The road along the lake was full of people on motorcycles, hikers, and campervans, almost all of which pulled in for a photo op. But… come on…
The water level was quite low so we went exploring on the far end of the lake in a very sandy, brushy area. It was still a bit chilly, but I definitely stuck my feet in that water… how could you not? (Hang on, I’m trying to remember what that cold felt like…)
I was having a grand old time bushwhacking around with my camera, but then a snake crossed my path and I decided that it was perhaps time to head for a more populated area. Thankfully BV did not see the snake (and probably wouldn’t have cared if he did), and he continued on to take some more shots. Here he makes a blog appearance, and helps to show the scale of the scene.
Dürrensee sits at about 1400 meters, so those mountains behind it are… large. This lake got major points on the scenic scale. Of course, there was also a cafe right across the street so you could grab an espresso while you admired it. This is Italy, after all.
On our drive back from the afternoon in Cortina d’Ampezzo, the Navi sent us on a different route. Instead of coming back past the Dürrensee again, we climbed up, up, up into the mountains and came across the last of our crystalline mountain lakes, the Misurinasee/Lago di Misurina. It was well worth the hair-raising drive up the mountain!
Let’s just all soak that in for a minute, shall we?
One whole side of the lake was lined with hotels and cafes, but most of them did not appear to be open yet. There were a few visitors, but significantly less than we saw at the Dürrensee. One group of teenagers across the lake were busy climbing one of the remaining patches of snow, and having a little snowball fight.
I loved this hotel, and how grand-looking it was, despite appearing nearly empty at the moment.
There was also a small swimming beach on Misurinasee, but I can’t imagine that the water ever gets that warm at an altitude of about 1700 meters. If anyone braves it, please let me know! But in May I would only stick a hand in the water, which was plenty refreshing. Remembering… remembering…
So, fellow toasty Germany-dwellers… did that help or hurt? Let me know in the comments!
*Most things in South Tyol have both a German and Italian name. For the sake of my sanity, I’ll stick to the German name after the initial introduction.